According to the Urban Dictionary, “Divvy,” the name of Chicago’s new bike sharing program, means idiot. And there might be something to the name.
The Chicago bike sharing website, divvybikes.com defines Divvy:
DIV∙VY \ DIVĒ
1. To divide and share
2. Chicago’s new bike share system
But thanks to its origins in British slang, “Divvy,” meaning “fool” or “idiot”, which is painted on every single Chicago “Divvy” bike, is causing some to laugh.
The city introduced Divvy Bike Share in June for a cool $22 million, funded by local (TIF) and federal taxpayers (TIGER Grant), to help get the program off the ground.
In a local Chicago transportation blog post, Chi.Streetsblog.org asks, “Does Divvy Need to Be Made Idiot-Proof?” The post goes on to explain the difficulties Chicago residents and tourists seem to be having understanding the rules and fee structures when they check out a bike, resulting in astronomical overtime charges for failing to return the bikes in the 30 minute time limit.
A photo surfaced on Facebook showing this exact scenario. The photo shows two “Divvy” riders on the El train with the “Divvy” bikes. Facebook commenters went to town, dissecting the image, with the most common hypothesis being, “they must be too stupid” to figure out they can leave the bikes at any rental station. “Why would they be bringing them on the train, LOL!”
Given all the confusion for users, the new name for Chicago’s “bike-sharing” program might be rather apropos, leading some to question whether the city intentionally chose “Divvy” specifically to get a laugh every time they see someone using one of those “Divvy” bikes.
After all, look at the very first Urban Dictionary entry on “Divvy,” which has been at the top of their list since 2003.